The Tom Vallance Medal was introduced in 2011 to recognize people who have made a significant contribution to researching, recording, investigating, documenting and/or publishing about people or places or events of historical importance to the geological sciences in Australia or Australasia. It will be awarded biennially, and be presented at the biennial Convention of the Geological Society of Australia (or similar event).
Dr Thomas George Vallance (1928–1993), geologist and historian of science, was formerly Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. Originally a petrologist, his work tracing geological expertise in Sydney during the late 18th and early 19th centuries shed unexpected light on scientific activity in our young colony and ignited his interest in the history of geology and early workers in the earth sciences. He researched and published many articles and papers on famous, infamous and little-known early pioneers in this field. His legacy was in the form of 3000 index cards of information, memorabilia and jottings on miners, geologists, surveyors, prospectors and mining engineers, which was compiled over a number of years and gathered from a wide variety of sources - especially from 19th century mining journals. After his death this rich resource was compiled into a database, which should prove invaluable for researchers. The 1994 meeting of INHIGEO was dedicated to the memory of Tom Vallance, a foundation member and for some years one of its Vice-Presidents. The ESHG is proud that its award should bear the name the Tom Vallance Medal.